Once a healing ceremony, hoop dancing lives on as entertainment
April 10, 2018
Hoop dancing is popular Native American tradition that was originally meant for healing ceremonies, but now they’re kept alive as entertainment.
The Duncan family has kept hoop dancing a family and cultural tradition for generations. They’re also known as the Yellow Bird Indian Dancers and they have competed in hoop dancing championships for over 20 years. They start performing as young as two years old.
“We teach them how to do little dances, then after that they learn their own designs,” Talon Duncan, 2015 World Champion Teen Hoop Dancer, says. “Once they get to a certain age they start picking up their own designs and learning their own routines. It’s good that they’re keeping their culture alive.”
Yellow Bird Productions is under the direction of Ken Duncan, member of the San Carlos Apache Tribe. He talks about how he’s been making hoops for a long time because carrying on the tradition is important to him. The “big family affair” brings everyone together.
“The indigenous people lived by the circle,” Ken says, describing the symbol of the hoop. “The circle of life is the circle that symbolizes how all of life moves in a circle.”
Talon says he is able to tell stories with his hoops. He can make them into different designs like an eagle, butterfly or flower. There are many people who are unaware of Native American culture. He says he wants to do what he can to inform and show them this piece of his culture.
More information on the Duncan family can be found at yellowbirdproductions.com.